Oct 312002
Authors: Rod Rodriguez

It’s election time again. We have all seen the advertisements on TV, in our mailboxes, on the phone and on our public streets. We know about truth in advertising, to look beyond the claims and at the real issues, but there is one advertisement that bothers me.

Our own Governor Bill Owens has publicly called himself the “Education Governor.” I don’t buy that.

I am sure he has done some good things for this state but I do not believe his educational policies are examples of his best work.

Last year at the Colorado Education Association’s (CEA) annual conference in Breckenridge, Owens received headlines when he was booed by nearly 900 of Colorado’s principals and superintendents. The CEA and its 35,000 members recently gave Owens an “F” for his educational policies. Colorado’s teachers, principals and superintendents don’t support the education governor. That doesn’t seem to make a strong case for him.

He recently announced more than $20 million in budget cuts including cuts to youth crime and prevention programs, youth rehabilitation programs, libraries, and teacher development programs and funds.

Colorado still has school buildings that date back to World War II with coal furnaces and other schools on year-round schedules with no air-conditioning. In some schools teachers have to carry disabled students up and down stairs because their schools are not handicap accessible. These structures may still be functional but how do they compare to schools located in Cherry Creek and Douglas County?

According to the Bell Policy Center, Colorado’s kindergarten teachers believe that one-third of their students are unprepared to learn when they enter school.

With the introduction of CSAP, only 8 percent of our schools can be labeled “Excellent” and 2 percent of our schools must be labeled “unsatisfactory” no matter how well they do on tests. Schools that perform poorly on the CSAP lose money that would buy them books, make improvement to schools and add technology to classrooms. Eventually the school is taken out of the public’s hands and turned over to private ownership.

Local control of our schools is diminishing.

Funding for higher education is being cut as well. Just a few weeks ago, President Yates stood in front of the Administration Building and announced that millions of dollars, dollars that keep our education top-notch, are being taken away from CSU.

When Owens took leadership four years ago, Colorado’s schools were ranked near the bottom. In the last four years, the education governor has managed to help our public schools drop even further in national rankings.

The most disturbing factor to me is that, even in the wake of Columbine and school shootings all across America, it is still legal to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

I would like to thank Colorado’s teachers and school administrators for their hard work and effort in teaching our youth. We owe them all of our respect and gratitude. Children are our future and you are helping to shape that, despite the efforts of our “Education Governor.”

Marilyn, where are you?

Voters are probably aware of the run-off between Democrat Stan Matsunaka and Republican Marilyn Musgrave for the U.S. House 4th District of Colorado.

I have met Stan three times, none of those coming in any sponsored event. He was at the Fort Collins 4th of July celebration at City Park, he has been on campus talking with students and student organizations, he has been walking the streets of Fort Collins. He has been out and about meeting the people he would be representing in congress and finding out what issues are close to them. He has been in touch with the 4th district.

Marilyn, where are you? I have not seen you on campus. You backed out of the only public debate scheduled in Fort Collins, the largest city in your precinct. You have been everything but accessible and you want to represent me in congress?

Show me, tell me why I should vote for you. Don’t bombard me with ads. Until then, I am proud to support Stan in the 2002 election.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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